The Chinese elements are earth, fire, metal, water and wood. According to Chinese philosophy, the 12 astrology signs pass through the elements, with the resulting interactions used to explain a variety of phenomena in astrology, medicine and other fields.
Each of the five elements bears both "beneficial" and "destructive" properties in relation to the others.
The beneficial relationships are wood produces fire, fire produces earth, earth produces metal, metal produces water and water produces wood.
The destructive relationships are water destroys fire, fire destroys metal, metal destroys wood, wood destroys earth and earth destroys water.
Each of the elements modify the 12 animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac. When combined with the concept of "yin" and "yang," the result is the 60 different combinations of the Chinese Zodiac.